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Samsung broadens its drugs business

South Korean group, Takeda forge alliance to develop medicines for hard-to-treat diseases

Timothy W. Martin & Jonathan D Rockoff  |  The Wall Street Journal 

Samsung drugs business
Samsung has entered the drug sector on a fast timeline, industry analysts say | Photo: istock

The conglomerate is furthering its efforts to build a full-fledged prescription-business, signing its first deal to develop novel for hard-to-treat

Samsung, best known for its and sets, is forming a with Pharmaceutical Co. TKPYY 1.19% of Japan to jointly fund and develop multiple treatments in coming years, the said in a written statement. The plan to begin immediate development of a drug to treat severe acute

Financial terms of the alliance weren’t disclosed.

Acute is a painful condition marked by inflammation of the pancreas. Mild cases might go away without treatment, according to the Mayo Clinic. But about one-tenth of patients die as a result of the disease and many have a higher risk of pancreatic cancer, according to the National Pancreas Foundation of the US

Bioepis Co., the South Korean group’s five-year-old company, had centred its strategy on creating near-replicas of rivals’ blockbuster biologic The decision to branch into novel treatments represents an aggressive and risky step by

Just one in 10 that make it to human testing wind up getting approved, according to drug researchers. can spend more than a decade and hundreds of millions of dollars working on an experimental drug.

Yet the commercial potential can be large. The lucrative biologics market is expected to generate $214 billion in sales this year, according to EvaluatePharma, a source of pharmaceutical market data and analysis. Revenues are projected to reach $276 billion in 2020.

has entered the drug world on a fast timeline, industry analysts say. The privately held Bioepis unit’s association with South Korea’s largest conglomerate gives it resources to invest heavily in research and development.

started to make available its lower-price copy of Johnson & Johnson ‘s Remicade, a blockbuster rheumatoid-arthritis drug, in the U.S. last month.

In Europe, sells that drug and another rheumatoid-arthritis treatment. Two other are under European regulatory review.

The creation of novel treatments has been a goal for Samsung, said Mingi Hyun, a spokesman for Bioepis. “At this stage of our company’s development, we believe this is the next logical step,” he added.

has also spoken with a number of other multinational pharmaceutical and biotech to pursue partnerships similar to the effort, Mr. Hyun said.

For Takeda, the partnership’s first project will be in the area of gastrointestinal disease, a focus of the Japanese drugmaker.

“This with Bioepis combines Takeda’s unique capabilities in with fresh and innovative approaches, thereby allowing us to maximize the potential for successful introduction of important medicines to patients,” said Daniel Curran, Takeda’s head of external innovation.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

First Published: Tue, August 22 2017. 01:28 IST